Let’s start with the basics: I find the two Despicable Me films to be laugh out loud funny. I think Steve Carell is great as Gru, and I think that there is comic genius in the idea of a villain fighting hard to be bad against the unassailable forces of three loving little girls.
The prequel to those two films, Minions, is not that kind of funny.
To be honest, the funniest portions probably take place when the minions stumble around early on trying to follow a T. Rex or Napoleon. When it gets into the bulk of the story, as three minions try to lead the way by finding Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock) at Villain-Con and then steal the Queen’s crown, it makes Despicable Me sense but it’s not Despicable Me funny.
But there’s one scene I’m telling everyone I know that they need to see. It’s in those crossroads, where the minion population has given up on the various villains they’ve tried to follow and are now hunkered down in a big, ice cave. They are numb, immobile, and joyless. They just don’t care about anything because there seems to be nothing to care about.
Then, Kevin (a minion) steps forward to lead them. No one wants to follow him… except Bob, a baby minion who he overlooks as being unimportant, and Stuart, a teenager who is accidentally appointed to his cause.
Kevin knows that sitting around, waiting for a leader, feeling the whole in their little minion hearts, is just the death of their ‘tribe.’ He knows they need a leader and they can’t find one sitting around in the same dark, cold cave they’ve been in for years. He knows they need to find and follow a true villainous leader. He knows they need a master.
Too often, we humans recognize that there’s a hole in our hearts but we try to fill it with stupid stuff. We try to fit material wealth, work, sex, money, relationships, church busy-ness into a God-sized hole. We try the same things people have been trying for thousands of years to numb the pain of purpose and calling. And we stay locked up in the same cycles, in the same dark prisons of doubt and insecurity.
We need someone to lead us out, to bring us out into the light, like Jesus brought Lazarus up out of the grave. We need Jesus to show us the way forward, to remind us that there’s so much better, so much greatness in store, if we would just follow the master, and be good disciples.